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University of South Carolina School of Law
Usc law logo.png
Established 1867
School type Public
Endowment US$ 80.4 million[1]
Parent Endowment US$ 425.2 million[2]
Dean Walter Pratt
Location Columbia, SC, USA
Enrollment 667
Faculty 90
USNWR ranking 87[3]
Bar pass rate 92.4%[4]
Annual tuition $17,718 (resident)[5]
$35,490 (non-resident)[5]
ABA Profile SC Law Profile

The University of South Carolina School of Law, also known as South Carolina Law or SC Law, is one of the professional schools of the University of South Carolina. South Carolina Law was founded in 1867 in Columbia, South Carolina and is the only public and non-profit law school in the state of South Carolina. The school has been accredited by the American Bar Association since 1925 and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1924.[6]



The discussion of starting a law program began as early as 1810 when President Jonathan Maxcy recommended to the board of trustees of South Carolina College (as the University was then known) that the school establish a professorship of the law to lecture to the two higher classes. A resolution of the statehouse in 1823 requested the college to consider "the propriety and advantage of establishing a Professorship of Law in that institution, and to report to this house, at the next session, the manner in which such a Professorship may be established, so as to be most advantageous to the community, and least expensive to the State." The trustees replied that a professor should be hired, but that the courses should be offered only to graduates. With that, the matter ended.

When the modern University of South Carolina was formed from South Carolina College in December 1865, the act doing so also authorized the trustees to hire one or more persons to form classes to instruct on the law under such terms as the trustees should decide. In 1866, the act was amended to require the trustees to do so on the quickest possible terms.

In January 1867, the trustees offered Chancellor J.A. Inglis the position, but he declined. In 1868, the offer was next made to Col. A.C. Haskell who accepted and held the post until August 1868. The course of study included the various branches of common law and equity, commercial, international, and constitutional law. Although the program was meant to cover two years, many students completed it in one. A moot court was also overseen by the professor to train students in the details of actual practice. Four students started in the program, and two graduated in June 1868.

The program lapsed during the 1868-1869 academic year, but resumed the following term under the direction of the Hon. C.D. Melton. The program continued until it was shuttered following the death of a subsequent professor, Chief Justice Franklin J. Moses, in 1877.

The school resumed in 1884 under Col. Joseph Daniel Pope with a two year program that again was often completed in one. Professor Pope was given a small salary and the fees generated from tuition. Special provision was made for the teaching of short courses by leading members of the bar. The school also added minimum entrance standards at that time: An applicant had to be at least nineteen years old, have a good English education, and known enough Latin to readily understand legal terms and maxims. Juniors were instructed in the following subjects: "Organization and Jurisdiction of Courts of United States (Supreme, Circuit, and District Courts) and South Carolina (Supreme, Common Pleas, Sessions, Probate, and Trial Justice Courts); Sources of Municipal Law; Domestic Relations; Personal Property, and title to same; Administration, Wills, Contracts, Bailments, Bills and Notes, Principal and Agent, Corporations; Criminal Law, and herein of Torts and nuisances; Public and Private Law, Law of Evidence." Seniors were instructed in the following: "Pleadings and Practice; Law of Real Property; Equity Jurisprudence; Law of Conveyancing; Trial of Title to Land; Maritime Law and Law of Nations; State of Law of the State on subjects not read with the text and lectures of the course; Deeds, Recording, Habeas Corpus, etc." In addition, the juniors were required to write essays, while seniors were trained in court details in a moot court.


The law school is now located in the Law Center at 701 South Main Street next to Moe's South West Grill, Shell Station, and former DCP [changed from College Mart, which is located in the center of Five Points, at the corner of Harden street and Devine street].

Ranking and recognition

The 2010 edition of US News and World Report's Best Law Schools ranked South Carolina Law was ranked 87th.[7] South Carolina Law was also ranked #54 overall according to the 2010 ranking by the AALS.[8] The ILRG ranked South Carolina Law #68 overall in its' 2009 ranking of law schools.[9] The ILRG also has numerous other categories and ranks South Carolina law as the #75 most selective law school, #94 for job placement before graduation, #95 for job placement after 9 months, #27 for best bar passer rates among first time takers, and #44 when ranking the school versus the state average for bar passage rates.[10] Law & Politics' 2010 ranking of law schools ranked South Carolina Law #38 overall.[11] TLS' ranking of most desirable law schools lists South Carolina as the #10 most desirable law school in the country. [12][13] ranks South Carolina law as #94 overall for best job placement and employment trends into "BigLaw".[14] In 2010, The Hylton Rankings place South Carolina Law #90 overall among all law schools.[15] Leiter's ranks South Carolina Law's Torts program as #7 among ABA approved law schools.[16]


1996 1999 2000 2001 2003 2004 2006 2008 2009
Applications N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1612 1609 2082 1975
Accepted N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 478 (30%) 500 (31%) 729 (35%) N/A
Enrolled 250 218 225 N/A 225 240 225 229 240
75% LSAT/GPA N/A 158/3.56 159/3.55 159/3.58 159/3.55 N/A 161/3.70 160/3.7 160/3.70
Median LSAT/GPA 157/3.2 155/3.22 156/3.28 156/3.28 156/3.28 158/3.5 159/3.40 159/3.4 158/3.46
25% LSAT/GPA N/A 151/2.90 152/3.01 154/3.02 152/3.01 N/A 156/3.10 156/3.05 156/3.14

Bar passage

In South Carolina, the bar exam is administered twice a year—in July and February. July is the primary testing date for those who graduate in May. A much smaller group, generally out-of-state applicants, repeat takers, and December graduates, take the February exam. The South Carolina Supreme Court did not release the pass rate for specific schools' alumni until the July 2007 exam when the court separately listed the pass rate for the University of South Carolina and the Charleston School of Law.

Feb. July
2007 92.3% 91.5%*
2008 84.7% 96.4%
2009 86.3%[17] 92.4%[18]

* The July 2007 results were revised upwards after the South Carolina Supreme Court threw out a section of the exam because of an error by a bar examiner.[19]

External links


Edwin L. Green, A History of the University of South Carolina 236-40 (1916) (on the history of the law school).


  1. ^ Law School Almanac - 2008 Endowments,, retrieved on 6-6-2009.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ US News rankings,, retrieved on 3/3/2009
  4. ^ Bar exam results retrieved on 12-10-2010
  5. ^ a b Tuition . retrieved on 3-11-2010.
  6. ^ AALS memberschools,, retrieved on 2-3-2010
  7. ^, retrieved 3/22/2009
  8. ^ Aallnet Ranking],, retrieved on 2-8-2010.
  9. ^ Ranking of Law schools - Raw data "2009 Raw Data ranking"., retrieved on 2-8-2010.
  10. ^ Ranking of Law schools - Raw data "2009 Raw Data ranking"., retrieved on 2-8-2010.
  11. ^ Superlawyers ranking @ Law and Politics Law and Politics . retrieved on 2-14-2010
  12. ^ Desirable Chart . retrieved on 3-11-2010.
  13. ^ TLS text version retrieved on 3-11-2010.
  14. ^ placement trends] . retrieved on 3-11-2010.
  15. ^ Hylton Ranking elsblog empirical legal studies. retrieved on 3-12-2010.
  16. ^ Leiter Business Law . retrieved on 3-12-2010.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Bar exam results retrieved on 12-10-2010
  19. ^ Knich, Diane (November 7, 2007). "State high court drops portion of bar exam". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009. 


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